An Oklahoma drilling rig explosion at Pryor Trust Gas Well may have been caused by an improperly sealed natural gas well, according to a recent Factual Investigative Update released by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board. The explosion, which took place on January 22, 2018 in Pittsburg County, happened just hours after indications of a gas influx in the well.

According to the CSB update, contractors from Patterson-UTI of Houston, Texas, had been drilling at Pryor Trust Gas Well for more than a week prior to the incident. This was done under the oversight of the Oklahoma City-based well lease holder and operator, Red Mountain Operating.

On January 21, 2018, Patterson-UTI crew members stopped drilling the well so they could remove the drill pipe and change the drill bit – a process known as “tripping.” Between 7:57 – 8:35 a.m. the following morning, while workers were testing the new drill equipment, the drilling rig’s mud pits gained 107 barrels of mud. Rapid mud pit gains are a strong indicator that natural gas may be flowing into a wellbore according to experts.

Evidence suggests conditions existed that could have allowed a gas influx into the wellbore during the tripping operation. CSB is currently conducting a root cause analysis on the incident and will provide rig data and analysis in detail in their final incident report.

Watch the USCSB Animation of Pryor Trust Gas Well Blowout and Fire.

The Pryor Trust Gas Well explosion was the deadliest drilling accident since 2010, claiming the lives of five victims. On January 23, 2018, just one day after the explosion, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in the case of Strickland v. Stephens Production Company that oil and natural gas companies can now be sued when an employee is killed or injured on the job. This is a monumental change from the state worker’s compensation law previously in place, which protected oil rig owners and operators from being sued by employees for workplace injuries and death.

The Potts Law Firm passionately represents families and victims of oilfield accidents and explosions. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in an oilfield accident, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer to inform you of your rights before filing a claim. Learn more by calling us toll free at (888) 420-1299 to schedule a free consultation today.



Comments are closed